The family moved to Chelmsford in 1818, to Boston in 1821, and back to Concord in 1823. The first occurred through his explorations of the local environment, which were encouraged by his mother’s interest in nature.
The second was his preparation at Concord Academy for study at Harvard University. The year he graduated he began the journal that was a primary source for his lectures and published work throughout his life.
Traces of Emerson’s philosophical influence appear in all of Thoreau’s writings, even after their friendship cooled.
In 1839 Thoreau met Ellen Sewall, the daughter of a Unitarian minister.
The essay displays both his scientific interest and his Transcendentalist vision of the meanings to be found in human encounters with nature.
In two essays published in 1843, “A Winter Walk” and “A Walk to Wachusett,” Thoreau develops his naturalistic writing in the direction it later took in .
Although these early essays can be read as somewhat romantic literary descriptions, Thoreau has already begun to inject a philosophical edge into his writings.
Walking becomes a metaphor for various other features of human existence.
Also, nature’s presence is not merely accepted passively; Thoreau focuses on its agency as an analogue and inspiration for human agency.
Like other Transcendentalists, he was an idealist and believed divinity to be immanent in nature.